Samsung Adds KNOX IT Security Layer to BYOD Android Devices

Samsung Adds KNOX IT Security Layer to BYOD Android Devices

Samsung has emerged as one of the major players in the non-iPhone mobile device market with a series of Android-based tablets and phones, but they've been more popular with consumers than they have with businesses. Now the company is making another move to gain a a greater foothold among business customers with technology called KNOX, pitched as the answer to consumer and business objections to the bring-your-own-device trend. Here are the details.

One of the big objections to BYOD has been the co-mingling of the security and data of an employees business and personal life. Businesses don't want their data exposed to the more lax security that often accompanies consumer-grade apps. And employees don't want to give up those apps, nor do they want to have their personal data subjected to a Big Brother-ish eye of their employer. Samsung's new solution strives to provide an answer to concerns from both sides.

Samsung says that KNOX works by incorporating Security Enhanced (SE) Android and integrity management services that are implemented in both hardware and the Android framework. By doing this KNOX offers a container solution that separates business and personal use of a mobile device. The technology is not a resource hog, either, says Samsung, and it works with common enterprise technologies such as mobile device management, VPN and directory services. (Several mobile device management vendors have already pledged their support for KNOX.)

To users, KNOX appears as an icon on the home screen that includes secured enterprise apps such as email, a browser, contacts, calendars, file sharing, collaboration, CRM and business intelligence.

For IT, the KNOX system lets existing Android ecosystem applications automatically gain enterprise integration and validation. Samsung says it relieves application developers from the  burden of developing individual enterprise features such as VPN, on-device encryption, Enterprise Single Sign On (SSO), Active Directory support and Smart Card-based multi-factor authentication.

Samsung said KNOX will be commercially available on selected Samsung GALAXY devices from Q2 2013 onwards.

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